Since the loss of Dr. Rasmussen a week and a half ago (see previous post here), multiple news outlets have ran pieces covering the contribution that Dr. Rasmussen made.
Today the The New York Times ran an obituary in its health section “Dr. Donald L. Rasmussen, Crusader for Coal Miners’ Health, Dies at 87” by Sam Roberts. The thoughtful piece provides a nice overview of Dr. Rasmussen’s trajectory from an Army physician in the Rocky Mountains to a “reluctant hero” in the black lung movement of the Appalachian coalfields. Dr. Rasmussen is quoted: “‘I never considered myself an advocate’” he said in the oral history interview. ‘I only did the work I knew was correct. I saw the miners who needed help.’”
As previously mentioned, the first outlet to publish a piece was the Charleston Post-Gazette with its piece “Rasmussen, pioneering black lung researcher, dies at 87” by Paul Nyden on July 23rd.
Also on July 23rd, the United Mine Workers of America gave a statement on Dr. Rasmussen’s passing.
On July 24th, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration’s leader, Joe Main, posted his tribute “MSHA’s Main pays tribute to an icon in the fight against black lung disease.”
The same day, West Virginia Public Broadcasting broadcast a piece “Doctor Who Sparked Black Lung Strike Dead at 87” by Beth Vorhees including archival audio of Dr. Rasmussen being interviewed by WSAZ-TV in 1969.
On July 27th, on “The Pump Handle” blog on ScienceBlogs published a piece “Donald Rasmussen: Coal miners’ physician, humble man” Dr. Celeste Monforton. Her piece includes original quotes from Dr. Karen Mulloy, Dr. Robert Cohen, and Davitt McAteer as well as a list of Dr. Rasmussen’s publications in medical journals.
And last but not least, on July 28th the Lexington Herald-Leader ran a modified version of the tribute that we put on this blog: “Rasmussen fought in lab, clinic, court, Congress for coal miners.”
Update: The media coverage continues:
On August 4th, NPR’s All Things Considered broadcast a story called “Doctor Who Crusaded For Coal Miners’ Health Dies At 87” by Howard Berkes with audio including an interview from a few years ago with Dr. Rasmussen and a recent interview with black lung attorney John Cline.
On August 5th, The Washington Post ran an article “Donald L. Rasmussen, physician with focus on black lung disease, dies at 87” by Emily Langer.
On September 12th, The Lancet (one of the world’s most respected medical journals) ran an obituary by Geoff Watts.